Ducks lead in-state title threats

Oregon's women have been at the top of the nation all season
By Cliff Pfenning, Publisher
Oregon's Minyon Moore celebrates with Ruthy Hebard Oregon's win over Connecticut in January.
Associated Press photo.

It's getting to be a trend in Eugene that one of the town's two college teams is a threat to win its national title. This year is no different.

Both teams at the University of Oregon are ranked in th Top 15, and the UO women have fallen only as low as fourth after starting the season at No. 1. With a Final Four run in their pocket from 2019, the Ducks are again right in the mix of teams considered top contenders for this year's title. They're likely to not even need to leave the state in order to earn a Final Four spot as one of the four regional tournaments will be played in Portland.

They've likely already clinched a spot among the 16 teams that will play host to first- and second-round games.

The women's Final Four will be played in New Orleans, April 3 and 5.

Oregon's men moved to 14th Monday after sweeping a pair of home games over the weekend. With three weeks left in the regular season, the Ducks are tied for the Pac-12 standings lead. The men's Final Four will be played April 4 and 6 in Atlanta.

Among the other in-state tournament title contenders, Eastern Oregon's women and Northwest Christian's women stand out in the NAIA Div. II ranks, and Linfield's men's team stands out in the NCAA Div. III ranks.

Eastern and NWC are tied for the Cascade Conference lead heading into the regular-season finale for both teams Saturday in Eugene.

Linfield is 18-5 overall and 12-2 and in third place in the Northwest Conference. The Wildcats, though, play the two teams ahead of them in the standings, Whitman and Whitworth, this weekend.

Also, Oregon State's women have been ranked in the Top 25 and are among the teams that might qualify to host the first and second rounds, although they've got some work to do in the closing weeks of the season. The Pac-12 entered the week with 

 

DUCKS CLOBBER UCONN ON THE ROAD

Third-ranked and on a roll.

The Oregon Ducks started the women's basketball season ranked No. 1, and inspite of a couple losses, have remained one of the teams to beat for the national championship. They showed that off Monday afternoon by hammering No. 4 Connecticut 74-56 in Storrs, Conn., in a game televised on ESPN2.

UConn's loss was its worst on its home court in program history.

Forward Ruthy Hebard scored 22 points and grabbed 12 rebounds to lead the Ducks, who had all five starters finish in double figures. Sabrina Ionescu had 10 points, nine assists and nine rebounds to power the team effort, which included outscoring the Huskies in all four quarters before a sold-out arena.

Satou Sabally had 17 points, Erin Boley had 13 and Minyon Moore finished with 12 points.

Oregon improved to 20-2 overall with home games against Arizona on Friday and Arizona State on Sunday. The Sun Devils handed the Ducks their lone Pac-12 loss in January.

UConn dropped to 19-2.

The Ducks remained behind Baylor and South Carolina in the AP and Coaches Poll. 

In the first "reveal" for the upcoming NCAA Tournament, Oregon was listed as the West Region's top team, which includes playing host to the opening two rounds. The Regional Final Four is set for Portland, March 28 and 30th.

The Final Four will be played in New Orleans in April.

https://youtu.be/_0dWp1mqG2E

 

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